Consecutive interpreting

In consecutive interpreting, the interpreter translates phrase by phrase, with the speaker pausing every few seconds to allow the interpreter to translate what he/she has just said.

This type of interpreting does not require any special apparatus and is typically done by an interpreter with specialist technical skills (and using just a notepad) and the necessary professional qualifications (a degree in interpreting).

This is the interpreting service we use and recommend in “formal/informal” meetings and congresses which enjoy a certain prestige, where the agenda is relaxed enough to allow this kind of interpreting to work. Events with consecutive interpreting usually have a relatively small audience: they’re typically meetings between representatives from 2 different countries, with the interpreter translating for both speakers, alternating between languages accordingly.

In practice, this kind of interpreting is the preferred option when the audience is made up of people from various countries. Normally the language of the guest contingent is the official language of the meeting and this makes it possible to avoid using a booth (and the associated costs). In consecutive interpreting, the interpreter uses a notepad to translate the speaker’s discourse as it happens (this may last up to 15 minutes). When the speaker pauses, the interpreter delivers a translation of what’s just been said, using his/her notes as reference. In an Italian/English scenario, if the speaker used Italian the interpreter delivers a translation into English, and vice versa. The speaker allows the interpreter to finish his/her piece before resuming. To stop the audience from getting bored, we recommend frequent changes of turn between speaker and interpreter (around 2 minutes), especially during informal meetings.

Consecutive interpreting requires one interpreter for a half-day session, and two for a full day. No booths are required as in simultaneous interpreting, which reduces costs – but consecutive interpreting is a time-consuming process which makes the event being served significantly longer.